Home Birth Using a Midwife
So why are families having home births? Though each couple may have individual reasons, many women prefer home births because they believe that most of the time pregnancy and childbirth are normal functions of a healthy body – not a potential life-and-death crisis that requires the supervision of a surgeon.
Having your baby at home will mean that you won’t be able to have available hospital resources. But you will probably get more personalised and supportive care from a midwife who will look after you in labor. They will use traditional midwifery skills as far as possible to help you through labour and birth; however, if problems arise during pregnancy or the birth, they will transfer you to specialist care in hospital.
What is the relative safety of home birth compared with hospital birth? Ole Olsen, a researcher from the University of Copenhagen, recently examined several studies of planned homebirth backed up by a modern hospital system compared with planned hospital birth. A total of nearly 25,000 births from five different countries were studied.
The results were that there was no difference in survival rates between the babies born at home and those born in the hospital. However, there were several significant differences between the two groups. Fewer medical interventions occurred in the homebirth group. Fewer home-born babies were born in poor condition. The homebirth mothers were less likely to have suffered lacerations during birth. They were less likely to have had their labors induced or augmented by medications or to have had cesarean sections, forceps or vacuum extractor deliveries. As for maternal deaths, there were none in either group.
In order for hospitals to support and encourage normal birth, doctors and insurers have to get over their desires for efficiency and profit. Normal birth takes time and doesn’t involve billable procedures. It’s cheap and its slow (even when it’s a fast labor (20 minutes c-section is faster) and because its slow, the hospital staff tends to want to speed it up and rush the process providing lots of incentive to do something even when it’s not indicated, necessary, helpful or supportive.
In the home setting, you are away from the cascade of interventions and the people who push them. At home there’s no one pushing an epidural, Pitocin, or constant monitoring. Medical interventions tend to be like a snowball rolling downhill. You’re stuck on your back with monitors strapped on which makes labor even more painful, so you get the epidural which makes labor slow, so you get the Pitocin which can cause stress in the baby, so you end up with a C-section. At home you’re far away from the snowball and it’s results.